Top paranormal researchers answer an age-old question
By Stephen Wagner, About.com Guide
A QUESTION THAT ghost researchers often are confronted with concerns the fact that ghosts are most often seen wearing clothes. It is also a question that skeptics raise to support their argument that ghosts are figments of the imagination. But it’s a perfectly legitimate question. If ghosts are human spirit energy, why do their manifestations include the manufactured convention of clothing? After all, clothes are not part of our bodies, our spirits or our “souls”.
Or are they? I posed this question to a number of respected paranormal researchers.
American Ghost Society
Why do ghosts need clothes? No one really seems to know, but it’s possible that in most cases, ghosts seen wearing clothing are simply “residual” images – imprints or memories that linger on the atmosphere of a place like a recording. A ghost of this sort would have no “personality” and is simply like an old movie that just keeps playing.
But what about ghosts that are not merely imprints? What about those which are true, traditional spirits who died and stayed behind? Many researchers feel that ghosts are made up of electromagnetic energy. This energy, inside of the body, forms what we call our spirit, soul or personality. Now, science cannot prove this energy or personality actually exists, yet we know it does. If it can exist inside of our bodies, then why can’t it exist outside of the body, once the body itself stops functioning? It’s possible that it does and that this electromagnetic energy contains our personality and is what we think of as our spirit.
It has been shown through scientific experiments that exposure to high levels of electromagnetic energy can cause people to have vivid dreams, nightmares and even hallucinations. In other words, people are seeing things as a result of exposure to this energy. If spirits have any sort of control over the energy they are now comprised of (or even if their personalities are somehow manifested in the energy), then I would think it possible for the witness to see the spirit as the spirit sees itself. If the personality really does remain, the spirit would visualize itself as it was when alive, appearing as a living person and wearing clothing.
This could be a totally unconscious effect of the energy on the living person, or it could be a manipulation on the part of the spirit itself, perhaps causing the person to see what it wants them to. To understand this, I suggest that you close your eyes for a moment and then visualize yourself in your mind. How do you appear to yourself? Most likely, you were wearing clothing in your imagination. With the idea that a ghost appears looking in the same way that he sees himself, this might explain why so many ghosts that are seen are not only wearing clothing.
RICHARD AND DEBBIE SENATE
Ghosts and the clothes they wear have long been a snickering question. It’s a sort of “gotcha” question debunkers use, and it tells more about the way ghosts are interpreted than anything about them. Ghosts appear as wearing cloths because that's how they appear to us. In our era, clothes are part of what we are. They are part of how we see ourselves and this mental image is the one projected and picked up. In fact, clothes can many times give us information about who the ghosts are and what lives they had. There are some reports of nude ghosts, but they are few and far between. Ghosts tend to be seen in the garments they are buried wearing. In many ways the clothing helps us to indentify who they are.
Founder of Ghostvillage.com and author of The Ghost Files
In many cases, a ghost is a projection of a person. Whether that projection is coming from our own heads, some intelligent energy swarming all around us, or imprinted on the location itself, I don't know. Consider this: If you were to picture yourself somewhere, it's likely you would envision yourself wearing clothes, looking comfortable, yet presentable, and maybe you'd even drop a few pounds in your "projection" (hey, it's cheaper than liposuction, so have at it).
Very few people would picture themselves naked (though there's usually one exhibitionist in every crowd). If you could project any image of yourself that you like, maybe you'd project yourself bleeding from the gunshot would you sustained in your last moments of life in order to make a point to whoever receives that projection. The apparition is always a representation of something/someone else. It's not an entity unto itself; otherwise it wouldn't be so fleeting.
Central New York Ghost Hunters
I believe that ghosts can show themselves in whatever form they want. If a spirit were more comfortable at a certain age, they may show themselves at that time. I'm not too familiar with any person who is comfortable showing themselves in the nude, therefore they wouldn't want to show themselves au natural in ghost from.
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These are all very good points. If ghosts are manifestations of the energy of human consciousness, then that consciousness would include clothing since, as stated by others above, that is how we think of ourselves. Or as esoteric author Richelle Hawks put it, considering that humans are far more than just their bodies: Why wouldn’t they be wearing clothes?
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